The Exchange
By Aerika S.

Author's Note - Quistis and Laguna were easily my favorite characters of the game so I wanted to write a short piece in which the two met and discussed a few things. I wanted to bring out the serious side of Laguna and the droll sense of humor of Quistis (Believe me, she does have one. Please refer to her "good luck" comment to Seifer at the beginning of the game). Anyway, I also like to experiment when I write (i.e. this might be a little weird) and since I like writing dialogue the most, I thought to hell with it, I'm just going to write a straight conversation. Enjoy (or try to).


"President Loire, good evening. I hope you're enjoying the festivities."

"Quistis Trepe, right? Please, it's just Laguna. And, uh, yeah, nice party. I'm glad Rinoa talked me into coming."

"Well, she wanted to turn eighteen in style. She spent weeks planning this event. Her father was thrilled when she asked to have it here at his mansion. They haven't always gotten along exactly and it was a nice step towards reconciliation." "I'm sorry, I shouldn't be gossiping."

"No, don't worry. I'm not surprised really. Any daughter's of Julia's is bound to have a spirit that might clash with a military man."

"Oh, that's right. You and Rinoa's mother were...I mean, you knew her...er, you were..."

"Don't stammer on my account. Just because things didn't work out for me and Julia doesn't mean I don't like being reminded of our time together. Those were good times. It's important to remember."

"I know what you mean. Remembering my own childhood at the orphanage with Squall and the others..." "I'm sorry, I'm bringing up all sorts of awkward topics, aren't I?"

"I can tolerate the mention of my son. I don't think he shares the sentiment though."

"I know you've tried talking to him. I gather it hasn't gone well?"

"Well, I talked while he stared at me blankly. I think he said 'whatever' more than he blinked."

"That's how Squall talks to everyone. I use the word 'talk' liberally, of course."

"Hmm, good to know. There's hope yet. Especially since Rinoa seems to have taken up the cause."

"Inviting you to her birthday party was a bit obvious. Then again, maybe you and Squall could bond over cake and ice cream."

"That would have to be damn good cake. You sound as bad as Ellone. She's offered to intervene on my behalf too. I told her this is one thing I should do on my own."

"Ellone does have a good bit of influence with Squall."

"She's already done more than she had to. Sending you all on those trips down my memory lane at least let him get to know Raine a little."

"That certainly was an interesting experience."

"So who were you, Ward or Kiros?"

"Excuse me?"

"Who were you, Ward or Kiros? I'm not asking for the 'Quistis Trepe, My Past Life as a Man' story, I'm just curious."

"I, uh...never really, uh...thought of it that way."

"Sorry, I guess I'm being the awkward one now. So...nice weather we're having."

"Delightful."

"You can cease being horrified now, I'll never mention the Ward/Kiros thing ever again."

"But you seem so amused by it."

"It's my nature. I like to find the humor in all situations. It keeps me from being all moody and depressed."

"Squall takes after Raine then?"

"Ha! Seems you have a sense of humor in there too."

"Please don't let my friends know. I do have a reputation to maintain."

"Yes, I can see why you don't want anyone to know how charming you are."

"Charming?" "Hmm, well...." "Oh, look! There's Selphie! I should really go over and say hello."

"Ah, yes, That Tilmitt Girl."

"You don't like Selphie?"

"No, it's not that. It's just that she can be a bit..."

"Kinetic?"

"Scary." "When we first met she kept talking about her web site and how much she loved reading about me in Timber Maniacs. It was the first time I liked having the Presidential guard around."

"Selphie's harmless. Although every now and then, I catch her wandering around as if in a trance muttering about Sir Laguna and the magnitude of his dreaminess."

"Dreamy?" "Hmm, well..." "Oh, look! There's someone I happen to know! I should run off now so as to avoid having to take a compliment."

"Very funny."

"Hey, you picked on me first."

"Hey, I was dead serious about that Selphie thing."

"Right. That's why she's draped herself over Mr. Cowboy there."

"A lot of women drape themselves over Irvine."

"Is it the hat? It's the hat, isn't it?"

"I wouldn't even claim to know."

"No, you don't strike me as the draping type. Well, at least she's got a new target."

"It bothers you to have the admiration of a young woman?"

"Tell me, Quistis. Have any of the Trepies ever gotten a little too...I don't know...pathologically obsessive?"

"How do you know about the Trepies?"

"Oh, I went to one of their conventions once. They were selling collector plates with your likeness on them and people who had known you were signing autographs for a nominal fee."

"You find yourself quite amusing, don't you?"

"I see a hint of bemusement behind that stern expression of yours."

"And you thought Selphie was delusional."

"At least I've dealt with my number one fan. Come on, tell me about the Trepies. Anyone ever send you a chocobo heart in a box with a note proclaiming their undying love?"

"That's rather morbid, and no, nothing of the sort. Look, it's just a silly name a few of my students came up with. I'm the same age or only a few years older than they are, but I'm already a member of SeeD and an instructor. That's a source of inspiration for them."

"You just see yourself as a role model."

"Not to sound egotistical or anything..."

"No, just clueless."

"What?"

"Quistis, you don't by any chance own a mirror or happen to pass by reflective surfaces on occasion?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Think about it. What's the gender ratio for the Trepies?"

"Statistically speaking, the are more males at Balamb Garden than females. The Trepies just reflect that."

"Oh, come on. An attractive young woman...with a whip..."

"PRESIDENT LOIRE!!!"

"Authoritative attitude..."

"GOODNIGHT, PRESIDENT LOIRE."

"Look, I'm sorry. Please don't go all Fujin on me. But it's the truth."

"..."

"Um, you don't need to channel Squall either."

"I'm sorry. It's just that it's important for me to be taken seriously. I don't like being mocked."

"I wasn't mocking you." "I can tell you're someone who likes to be in control. And not just of the situation but yourself. You don't see yourself that way so you get unnerved when other people do."

"Really, that much from such a brief conversation."

"I'm intuitive. It's one of the reasons why I'm so popular in Esthar."

"And the Presidential estate...that's a source of dislike with the people?"

"I'm more than my mansion. I may act like a flake...okay, I see that look...I may be a flake, but I can get my crap together when I have to. Adel didn't just defeat herself you know."

"I'm glad you have such a healthy opinion of yourself."

"You had to have been Kiros. I'd recognize those deprecating comments anywhere."

"I thought you weren't going to mention that again."

"Fine. Divert my attention. What does Quistis Trepe think of Quistis Trepe."

"Well, I've always seen myself as a leader, someone who takes care of herself and everybody else. I'm intelligent, strong and certainly not some ditzy blonde who's only valued for her looks."

"Hmm, the old stereotype of woman as either mother or whore."

"Gods, I hope those aren't my only options."

"I said it was a stereotype. You are anything but stereotypical."

"Yes, well...thank you."

"No problem. And I won't even mention how gracefully you took the compliment."

"Good, you're being sarcastic. That I can deal with."

"It's bothers you to have the admiration of a dirty old man?"

"I think I have a problem with the admiration of males period. I'm so bound and determined to be the perfect SeeD, I usually avoid those things altogether. Huh, looks like I'm buying into the stereotype myself."

"Surely not."

"You know, maybe that's why I had that stupid crush on Squall. I could say that I was interested in someone, but since that someone was so completely oblivious to the whole thing, I didn't actually have any risk of dealing with a real relationship."

"You had a thing for Squall?"

"I just made an important self-revelation and that's your response?"

"Oh, right. I apologize, enlightened one. Still, you and Squall. Squall and you?"

"Okay, you have the right to be incredulous. Especially considering when I tried to open up to Squall, he told me to go talk to a wall."

"So the blank stares I get really aren't that bad."

"I told you."

"I think I shall have to listen to you much more in the future."

"Yes, well..."

"Continue."

"This isn't like me at all. I don't usually talk to men I barely know and pour my guts out. You must think I'm awfully silly."

"I'm shocked. Everything in our conversation indicated you were a free wheeling wild child." "I'm kidding, Quistis. This has proven to be one of the most intriguing conversations I've had in quite some time."

"Didn't you just tell me you've been talking to Squall?"

"Touché. You know, I really don't know where his personality comes from. He definitely has Raine's eyes though."

"You still miss her."

"Always. But I'd love to tell you all about her."

"By all means, Laguna, continue..."